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“What are Your Resources?-Zig Zag Principle #8”

Post by Rich on June 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

Now that you know who you work for, you need to take an honest look at two things: what your resources are right now, and where they can take you.

I currently drive an Audi A6. I love this car, and I love going on road trips in it. No matter the distance or destination, I know I’m going to get there, and I know I’ll travel in comfort. I can sing along with my favorite music on the satellite radio, and my biggest worry is that my speed will creep up to the point where I’ll get a ticket. Driving this car is an absolute pleasure!

We Lived on Potatoes and Love!

My Audi A6 is dramatically different from what I drove in college. When my wife and I were first married, we drove a1972 Dodge Colt that had been wrecked three times. I know people joke about cars that are held together with bailing wire and duct tape, but ours actually was. We tried to improve its appearance by covering up some of the larger dents with a rough coat of Bondo and then painting the entire car with blue spray paint.

That plan didn’t work very well. In fact, I was so embarrassed by the car that when I was working on my MBA, I would park half a mile away so that no one would see what I drove. The car had a broken oil pan, and the head was cracked. It would get me to school and back, but I never dared take it out on the freeway, let alone on a road trip.

Back then, that was my only resource for getting to my destination. I can go a lot farther now in my Audi A6 than I could in that old Dodge Colt. But the Colt was better than my eight-year-old son’s current resources. He recently founded a business selling homemade crafts around the neighborhood. When he makes his deliveries, his mode of transportation is a kick scooter. So, while my Dodge Colt was constrained by the city limits, his radius is a few blocks from our home. But he is making do with the resources at his disposal. His vehicle is different from my Audi A6 and even my Dodge Colt. But it can still take him places.

Of course, the business he is building with his resources is dramatically different than the type of businesses I am able to build. But then, the businesses I build are dramatically different than the ones Donald Trump builds. Which is why he has a jet!

Obviously, we can go farther if we have a jet than if we just have a kick scooter. But any one of these vehicles will get us somewhere. We may have farther to go and more zigs and zags to create if we are starting with the kick scooter, but even when we think we have no resources, we actually do. Whatever your circumstances, it is important to look deep down in your pockets.

Just A Small Town Boy

I grew up in a rural Southern Utah town with a population of about 2,000, if you include the cows and chickens. My family did not have any worldly wealth to speak of. But I had dreams of going to college, succeeding as an engineer and businessman, and moving somewhere a bit bigger than my beloved hometown.

When I was a young boy, my resources were the equivalent of my son’s kick scooter. They consisted mainly of sheer determination, the guts to move forward, time, and boundless energy. I also had a bicycle, which was handy because a nice neighbor who knew I wanted to work offered me a paper route. With that paper route, I was able to save enough money to fix up an old lawn mower that was sitting unused in our shed. After a bit of self-promotion, another neighbor offered me the job of mowing the hospital’s lawns. Between the paper route and the lawn mowing, I was able to buy more lawn mowers, and I invited my brothers to help mow other lawns. I kept a percentage of what they earned, which seemed fair because I was supplying the equipment. I saved most of the money I earned and put it toward my goal of going to college. I also worked hard in high school and received a scholarship, which added more resources toward my goal to graduate from college.

It may seem that

I traveled in a fairly straight line toward my goal, but if you look more carefully, I did a lot of zigging and zagging. It may also seem that I had very limited resources, but let’s review them before arriving at that conclusion:

    • Determination
    • Time
    • Energy
    • Good Health
    • Supportive parents
    • A bicycle
    • A neighbor who offered me a paper route
    • An old lawn mower in the shed
    • Money to fix the lawn mower
    • Knowledge to fix the lawn mower
    • Another neighbor who offered me the lawn-mowing job
    • Friends who wanted to mow lawns
    • Good grades, which led to a scholarship


I love speaking to young, enthusiastic college students. But whenever I talk about resources, one of them will say, “Rich, it’s great you’ve been able to start all these businesses, but look at where you are!” I then have to tell them that I had to climb the ladder rung by rung, starting at the very bottom.

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